Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan on Sunday included several revelations about the couple’s struggle to maintain the status quo while serving as senior members of the British royal family.
And while audiences may have been shocked at some parts, some of the two-hour interview on CBS echoed Princess Diana’s bombshell 1995 BBC interview.
“I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” Meghan said. “My mom even said to me a couple of months ago, ‘Did Diana ever do an interview?’ Now I can say, ‘Yes, a very famous one.'”
Meghan’s mental health
Meghan told Oprah she was so close to suicide during her time in the palace that she couldn’t be left alone.
“I was ashamed to admit it to Harry, but I knew if I didn’t say it, I would do it. I just didn’t want to be alive anymore. It was clear, it was real, it was frightening, and it was a constant thought.”
In her interview 25 years ago, Diana opened up about her difficult pregnancy with Prince William and spoke about her battle with postpartum depression, something she said was rarely discussed at the time.
“Maybe I was the first person ever to be in this family who ever had a depression or was ever openly tearful,” Diana said. “And obviously that was daunting because if you’ve never seen it before, how do you support it?”
Diana also discussed past episodes of physical self-harm as a way of coping with the pressures of her new royal role
“When no one listens to you, or you feel no one is listening to you, all sorts of things start to happen. For instance, you have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help. I was actually crying out because I wanted to get better in order to go forward and continue my duty in role as wife, mother, Princess of Wales.”
Constant struggles with the media
Meghan told Oprah the constant media scrutiny and falsehoods affected her.
“I would sit up at night and I was just like, ‘I don’t understand how all of this is being churned out,’ she said. “And I realized that it was all happening just because I was breathing.”
Diana also discussed the intense media coverage she brought since joining the royal family.
“The most daunting aspect was the media attention,” she said, adding that once the focus started to turn more toward her instead of her husband, problems arose. “With the media attention came a lot of jealousy. A great deal of complications arose because of that.”
Related:What is ‘The Firm’ Duchess Meghan mentioned in her Oprah Winfrey interview?
Also read:Oprah’s CBS interview with Harry and Meghan claims big 17.1 million viewers
Both royals in their respective interviews discussed fighting against attacks in the public eye.
When asked whether she felt there was a campaign being waged against her, Diana told interviewer Martin Bashir she “absolutely” did.
“I was a separated wife of the Prince of Wales. I was a problem. Full stop. Never happened before. What do we do with her?”
After leaked phone conversations with her close friend James Gilbey made waves in British tabloids during Diana’s and Charles’ very public breakup, the former Princess of Wales said in her 1995 interview, “It was done to harm me in a serious manner, and that was the first time I experienced what it was like to be outside the net, so to speak, and not be in the family.”
In her interview, Meghan said she refused to live in fear after the attacks on her race and her character.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things – I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already,” the duchess said.
There’s no rulebook
Meghan said she didn’t do any research into what it would mean to be part of the royal family and, in fact, she had to learn how to curtsy “on the fly” because she was in the car when she found out she was about to meet Queen Elizabeth II for the first time.
Likewise, Diana said she had to adjust with the new role on the go: “No one sat me down with a piece of paper and said this is what’s expected of you.”
Watch Oprah’s interview with Meghan and Harry on CBS.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.